Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins made a roundabout statement at the end of today’s commission meeting: “I normally wouldn’t even address something like this but I want to do it for my fellow peers and for you guys,” he said. “The chaos that came out last week, and the muckery, I had child custody hearing Friday that’s why I went back to Georgia, usually a few days before that or a week before that some really bizarre things start coming out, and you know, act crazy things. But it was a very good day, very positive day, probably one of the best ones of my life, so I just wanted to say that, without going into a lot of detail or issues or trying to explain things.”
He was speaking in a roundabout way, as I will, referring to a story in the May 1 News-Journal about some tawdry allegations about him that don’t bear repeating.
Tawdriness shadows Mullins wherever he goes, whenever he speaks. It’s his nature. He is a base man who revels in debasing others, a middle-aged narcissist stuck with the intellect of an adolescent and the mini-Trump politics of a goon. Nobody would pay attention to his sleaze if he didn’t buy the attention the way he buys infomercials and advertisements to himself, the way he fouls donations by making them about himself or the way he photobombs every occasion where he can appropriate someone else’s credit. He made fun of poor old Nate McLaughlin for cutting too many ribbons. McLaughlin could now give a Ted Talk in humility in comparison. Public officials cringe and bear Mullins because they have no choice. Most of us can tune him out, though his rogue slanders sometimes make it difficult: his troubling clinical obsession with me and FlaglerLive, his incessant bigotry–using anti-Semitic tropes adapted to photoshopped images of me–can be hard to ignore when people keep sending them to me and saying: look what he’s done now! All of that is substantiated by the two years we’ve endured of the dishonor he’s brought to the county commission–or by any single day of effluents on his unsocial media page.
So it’s incomprehensible why, with so much reportable material out there about the guy, the News-Journal thought it fair game to go after him with an unsubstantiated, indefensible smear piece, which is what the paper published about him over the weekend. Mullins deserves plenty of criticism and a lot more critical reporting than he’s been getting, and for this all local media are to blame. But he didn’t deserve this.
FlaglerLive was among those at the receiving end of the email that went to seemingly every public official in the county and his or her siblings, a few prosecutors and who knows who else. The material enclosed was puerile, and unfortunately difficult to un-see. The allegations would amount to nothing more than a misdemeanor–and criminally speaking, to nothing more than something like smoking pot–and only because Florida is still a bit backward in those regards. They’re also the sort of allegations you could make about a fairly substantial number of public officials in every time zone in the universe if history, common sense and every religion’s compulsive admonitions are any guide.
After initial revulsion and some discussions with local colleagues, it really wasn’t a difficult choice. The story wasn’t reportable. Not at this point, not with this pathetic material.
First, however tawdry the allegations, it’s not reporters’ business to make it our business unless it intersects with an official’s behavior on the clock, or if the official is using his position to his own ends. (I wrote of this in detail a couple of years ago when a state senator was attacked over an affair.)
The activity is illegal? If that’s proven, if it follows some rigorous, documented reporting, if it follows up a police investigation’s substantiated findings, it’s a different matter.
But the News-Journal didn’t prove it. It barely did any reporting on it despite a piece that goes to deceptively huge lengths about it. You need only go by the article’s own language to get blinded by the journalistic red flags: “Joe Mullins could soon be under state investigation…” “The News-Journal was not able to ascertain the identity of the person who sent the email about Mullins…” “The News-Journal is not publishing” so-and-so’s last name because the person “could not be reached for comment.” Don’t be fooled by that deception: when we don’t publish someone’s name, it’s because we may have reason to protect the person’s identity. But we know who it is, we have substantiated it for our sake. We never run an unidentified person’s allegations whose name and identity could not be substantiated. The News-Journal did–not because the person couldn’t be reached for comment, but because the News-Journal has no clue who it is. That’s not reporting. It’s sleaze.
The News-Journal got in touch with one of the individuals who may have tied Mullins to an allegation, but the individual denied knowing him. Maybe the individual made that up. Maybe Mullins’s defense in the article is all made up. That’s not justification for running with vague, shadowy smears based on a cobble of pdfs and digital images that could target anyone in any public position, so long as the material is blasted to every public official within sight. The News-Journal may have used that opening to justify an article: if it went to every official, then it’s news. I doubt they’d apply the same standard if they were cc’d on a document that smeared an official they’re cozier with, or an advertiser with a public role in the community.
The article even quotes one of the email’s more absurd claims, which should have been a red flag about the sender’s motives and disconnect from reality: “If these messages are proven to be authentic, his (Mullins’) behavior is dangerous to the health and safety of his family and also puts him in a position that might force him to make decisions and endorse policies and legislation that are not in the best interest of his constituents.”
Knowing what the allegations are, that statement is sheer bunk, another way to imply something out of nothing. If a police investigation finds against Mullins, it won’t be because his alleged behavior is “dangerous” to anyone, or because it might force him to make questionable policy decisions, but because the state police agency will have found a way to charge him for something to which the local sheriff’s office or any other local agency have paid almost zero attention over the past 10 years.
Joe Mullins is a distasteful man whose behavior as an elected official is dangerous and should be held to account. But not by reporting as unsubstantiated as the allegations it’s based on. These are the kinds of allegations that can be spliced and blasted about anyone. To play into them without strict and uncompromising authentication legitimizes them and gives journalism a bad name.
I can feel the frozen-over icicles of hell pricking my soles, if not my soul. But I’m with Joe on this one.
Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here.
We the people elected you Grow up man.Seperate your personal life from city politics.There is no Excuse for your behavior.Upset citizen of Palm Coast!!!!
What kind of “man” do your approve of? An angel maybe?
Just Sayin says
I agree that he is too big for his britches. Today he went to a local restaurant and posted that he was singling this business out and promoting it. This is not appropriate in any way. He cannot be partial and promote a single business when they are all wonderful and they are all struggling here in this county right now.
I’m just here for the comments, the puppet show is about to start
Only Joe knows for sure at this point. IFF he engaged and did not cover his tracks IMO Tech will bust him wide open. Time will tell Innocent or not. Lets just say right now not in his favor. Proif is ib the evidence
You complain about the Journal, but do the same thing with your bias reporting about the Republican Party. This had to be very hard fir you, as a liberal reporter.
Are you referring to the rumors that all Republicans are child-molesting Dope Fiends that secretly worship Baal and have ritual sex with pets? No comment.
Rick G says
Good piece Pierre. Its refreshing to know that there are journalists out there that have principles no matter on who they may be reporting.
Steve Ward says
Wow you are underestimated and under appreciated in this town Tristam, fair fact bearing non sidetaking Journalism at its finest, I almost Hope he is not Guilty nice job WTG
I voted for Mr Mullens and have regretted it ever since. I will vote against him in the next election.
Thank you FlaglerLive for practicing journalism, how refreshing! If the allegations are fake there is nothing to report on the shady man, if they are true who cares?
Maria Davis says
Flagler Live does the same thing! It’s all bashing. Everyone who disagrees isn’t always the bad guy!
What are you talking about? I’d challenge you to reference a single link to any article where Flaglerlive has behaved irresponsibly unlike Mullin’s, an elected offical, who does so on an almost daily basis. Disagreeing is not the same as despicable.
Name (required) says
Never thought I’d find a quote by “Gomer Pyle” to be relevant at any point. But.. I’m not “surprised.” Lol. This guy is something else.
WILLIAM J NELSON says
TALK ABOUT A LOT OF TALK ABOUT A LOT OF NOTHING, WOW !, WAS IT REALLY WORTH THE PRINT SPACE ??
David S says
Flagler County=The Andy Griffith Show….
Time will only tell if true or not as no matter in which side of the court we are this commissioners behavior is unacceptable.
Personable behavior of a married man father of several children elected to office matters. I am glad I didn’t vote for him and won’t in November either.
Oops forgot that he is not yet an incumbent in this November elections. Too bad.
Mike Cocchiola says
We need to beat Joe Mullins at the polls in November 2021 because he is bad for Flagler. We knew upfront that his personal life was deplorable. We had news reports and public records out of Augusta Georgia. But we dismissed that and he threw a ton of money into his election and won. Our bad!
Now, two and a half years later, we know Mullins as a bully, a braggart, a grabber of attention and a failure as a county commissioner. He continually brags about impending deals to bring development into Flagler. He talks massive housing deals, health care, businesses and jobs. He takes credit for everything and delivers nothing.
Joe Mullins seeks only to promote Joe Mullins. He’s either using Flagler County as a stepping stone to something higher, or there’s money to be made for him somewhere. Meantime we suffer a divisive say-everything, do-nothing commissioner. He must not become chair of the BOCC. He must not be reelected. He is an embarrassment to our county. He is not who we are. He has to go.
Just Another Resident says
Giving the alternate of Jane Gentile-Youd, the County didn’t have much luck with a strong candidate in the last election. She’s just as deplorable as Mullins. Her behaviorisms at County meetings and callouts of untruths are embarrassing.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
To: Just Another Resident
Please explain any untruths I have ever said at any Flagler County Commission meeting. They are all recorded on Utube so you can take all the time you want to find one untruthful word outta my mouth.
If you think I am deplorable that is you right but at least I deserve to know why because I try to learn from my mistakes. Thank you in advance as I am always try to learn.
Yes, a very tawdry character. Unbelievable to know how many voters he fooled to get elected.
Joe, please do us all a favor and go back to Georgia, if they are willing to take you back.
Sometimes you don’t need to know the intimate details of someone’s life to know they are not a good person. The soul is seen through your eyes. Your intentions made clear by your body language. Your persona revealed in the energy you emit, either positive or negative. You don’t even have to talk to someone to get a sense of how they are as a person. Many times you sense it, you know that gut feeling you have when you bump into a stranger. That first instinct tells you exactly who and how that person is with themselves and others. Oftentimes, we brush it off because we want to know someone, or we don’t trust our gut thinking we’ve overreacted. Years later, you usually find out your gut was correct all along and you should’ve listened. This is what we lose as adults that we had as children, the ability to not censor our thoughts from becoming words, and the ability to sense who is and is not a good person. It’s a shame really. If we retained that and didn’t push those gifts to the wayside, perhaps the world would be a better place with decent people in charge, and not snake-oil salesmen with slick tongues full of lies.
Honest Truth says
Joe Mullin is nothing more than a narcissist, napoleon little short man in a child’s body. He is a bully to try to make himself look taller than he really is, little does he knows it doesn’t work and hasn’t.
He has no right being a Flagler County Commissioner and they need to remove him from office for their own reputations are at stake.
He definitely needs to be investigated and I am sure the truth will come out it always does.
Tim Mcauliffe says
Joe purchased that seat fair & square
CB from PC says
A great piece of Journalism and impartial reporting based on facts.
I knew Flagerlive had it somewhere.
But Joe does make me wish he would switch to another party.
Gus Rumpf says
Joe Mullins is a PATRIOT and a Constitutionalist!
We love Joe Mullins!!! We want MORE folks EXACTLY like Joe Mullins.
Joe Mullins wants to end this illegal shutdown and unlawful theft of our rights as Americans, and he is NOT ALONE.
The State Attorney’s Office 6th Circuit just DROPPED their case against my client Galen Wood—the first Floridian to be arrested for opening a “non-essential” business. It’s clear there is NO valid legal authority for either the state or local emergency orders.
Ok, please tell what actions has he taken to be a Patriot and a Constitutionalist. Oh! He wants to re-open the County, that’s it?
Any other “accomplishments”? I am curious to see if he has done anything but talk about doing something compared to what has he done for this County.
BTW I don’t care about his alleged sexual encounters, it is irrelevant, true or not.
Edith Campins says
You Mr. Tristam are a decent and honorable man. Mr. Mullins is not. Having seen him in action at town hall meetings and commission meetings I can’t imagine hy anyone would vote for him.
Is Joe Mullins the one wanted to ban dollars stores in palm coast??
If we just made prostitution legal none of this would matter. That is the real story here. That a grown man cant pay for a little company, whats the big deal?
So much money and time would be saved not to mention the world would be better if all the asshats could relieve their stress and get their freak on legally with prostitutes. Not to mention a whole new booming economy it would being to the state!!
I guess I (and everyone else here) now know what he’s been accused of doing.
Gus Rumpf says
To me Joe Mullins is a great guy whose priorities are spot on.
Joe is a Constitutionalist, and We The People surely need more of him.
In short: WE LOVE JOE MULLINS.
You are probably Joe Mullins and writing under a pseudonym!
Joe has a history of that…his Airbnb listing has him calling himself “Jeff”.
Seriously Mullins is a disgrace. I cannot believe that people voted for him. He listed millions of dollars in assets but lives the way he does.
He does has a history in Georgia, where he really lives, of similar behavior.
Concerned Citizen says
Joe Mullins is a joke. And an embarrasment to this County and the BOCC.
He’s a mini Trumpster who likes to thump his chest and throw his money around. And yet what has he done for this county? Oh the radio commercials that he “paid for” Oh ok. Just another blow hard who bought his county seat. I’d love for FL to do some investigative journalism and really dig up his past. It must have been shadier than a lampstore sales person to have to leave Ga.
@ Joe Mullins.
I don’t like you. And I don’t like your political views. So I’m still waiting for you to show up and escort me on that bus or cattle car. And move me out of this County. Are you up for it? You’ll need armed personell to make it happen.
I am proud of you Flagler live to stand in the gap for honesty and integrity I appreciate you even though I don’t agree with you ever I agree with you on this one .
Mullins seems to have a propensity for this kind of behavior. Don’t forget several years ago his ex-wife made a credible allegation of revenge porn.
David S. says
Joe Mullins you should be ashamed of yourself QUIT NOW……..
Snoopy Says says
This is a reply to Just Another Resident says. As Pierre has indicated, unless you have actual evidence of a statements accuracy be very careful how you accuse. You are making a statement about Jane Youd’s behavior and call outs of untruths at county meetings are questionable. I would suggest you go on to the Flagler County websites and refresh what you see. Jane Youd would have represented the tax payers of this county much better than Joe Mullins has done.
SASHAY AWAY says
Obviously “Just Another Resident” is ” Just Another mullin crony ” who spews untruths and makes false defaming accusations about people they know NOTHING about and once again to call a person deplorable is that same person we find cowardly, duplicitous, and loutish.
Tim Mcauliffe says
Joe purchased that seat fair & square
I can assure you, there is never some bizarre thing that come out before his child custody cases and if he didn’t ask his ex wife to seal his documents when he was running for office down there, the proof would be available. I am sure she did not have anything to do with any of that and I know for fact she was sent the information. Screen shots. He is not supposed to slander or speak. Publicly about her but again he believes he is above the courts.
Mullins should have his own Netflix series, his life in all his glory eventually,because of grandiosity ,political hate filled aggression, and Joe just being Joe is going to end badly, how badly is the question,watching Mullins is like being at the Daytona 500,just a matter of time before a catastrophic wreck
I attended a BOCC & Airport Advisory Committee workshop and JOE MULLINS was on his cell phone the ENTIRE TIME. He didn’t have the respect or decency to acknowledge ANYONE that spoke. Because he wears glasses- the cell phone screen was reflecting off of his glass!! When I spoke I literally was staring at him – just waiting for him to put his phone away. I was going to call him out on his immature behavior as elected official but all speakers were only allotted 3 minutes to speak that day. Then he looked like the deer in the headlights when asked for his input and just hemmed-hawed and muttered a reply and lastly he was the LAST ONE to show up for that meeting and HE bolted out the door the second he could – Last one in – First one out!!
Honestly I will do everything in my power to make sure he is NOT Elected again. Jane Youd you did an amazing job speaking that day and spoke the TRUTH … We all did that day!!
Dennis Beauchamp says
The integrity of the press can no longer be hurt. Mr. Mullins is acting like someone else very highly placed. Maybe he will someday be president.